Does Don Giovanni Suffered In Any Way?

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For any given object, the idea is held that essence precedes existence; a chair created for comfort, a fork for ease in eating, a bulb for illumination, etcetera. Sartre presents the idea that existence precedes essence; we are born and thrown into the world with no prior nor fixed purpose. He proposes that we are condemned to be free. His choice of wording would follow that we experience despair and anguish caused by the pain of being aware that we have no purpose.

On the same note, Nietzsche presents the idea that to live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering. Although it takes a more pessimistic view on things, the idea conveyed is that the discovery/creation of meaning can alleviate and elevate the existential suffering. The cure to despair and anguish is Hope. In a nutshell, it’s saying no to no; “you have no purpose to exist.” – “no.”

By having hope, we’re choosing to go against the grain of a purposeless existence. Now we have the purpose of finding purpose. Essentially, we’re free to choose what our purpose will be and where we will find meaning in life. What then if we have no freedom in choosing our role/purpose in life?

Suppose that a man chooses to be an astronaut but because of his being born with no arms and legs, he cannot fulfill this. Anything else that he wants to do to give him meaning in life is not possible due to his birth defect. Can he escape the fate of a meaningless life? Camus’ Myth of Sisyphus would say otherwise.

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Sisyphus tasked to push a boulder for eternity. He has a purpose: to push the boulder upwards. It isn’t a desirable purpose and acknowledges the reality of things. He does, however, remain free to choose whether he will be happy or miserable in doing it. Frankl also presents a similar idea concerning this. If suffering is an inevitable reality, we can still choose whether it will be meaningful or meaningless. When we suffer without any meaning, it remains as such and leads to pain. If we choose to find meaning in our suffering, we are choosing to be responsible. We are responsible for how we accept the suffering just like Sisyphus did and not be a victim of the universe.

Impulsive behavior can be caused by a dopamine deficiency. Our evidence for such statement is the nature of neurochemicals and his pattern of behavior. A person with a dopamine deficiency will maneuver his body to do things that will reward him with more dopamine in order to achieve homeostasis. At the time period of Giovanni, we can’t say for certain what different means people could find pleasure and enjoyment in. Sex, however, is one of the most basic acts that brings pleasure and enjoyment (dopamine); granted, people associate different things with pleasure and enjoyment, not just sex.

Knowing that there is something you want, but do not have, releases dopamine and triggers your body to get it. When you do get it, your body releases more dopamine because you now have it. This reinforces the person in constantly getting said object. In Giovanni’s case, it is sex. Through nature and nurture, Giovanni, given his social class and accessibility to worldly things, associates the most rewarding feeling with sex because this is something that he isn’t guaranteed to have.

The necessity for multiple partners also plays into the dopamine levels. The end goal for Giovanni is the pursuit of sex. Sex only validates the purpose. In other words, he doesn’t care who he has sex with. He likes the rewarding feeling he gets when he convinces someone to give up something (sex) they are not supposed to give up so freely. Thus we can see his impulsive behavior arise here and why he is a very in the moment person. He will do anything to pursue a woman in sex.

Don Giovanni/Don Juan is commonly known as a playboy and womanizer. Other terms that may be associated with him are nymphomaniac, heartless, psychotic, selfish, narcissistic. From the physical and psychological perspective, he was suffering from addiction; it’s as if he was addicted to heroin. He’s driven to have sex that the lack thereof causes him psychological imbalance and a warped perspective (killing the dad and homewrecking). Don Giovanni, we could theorize, suffers from a sex addiction wherein his world revolves around sex to the point that it rules over him and affects his life.

In the metaphysical realm, he had found meaning and purpose in pursuing women. He has chosen and constantly chooses to pursue sexual relationships with women as his purpose in life. We can see that he’s had plenty of success with sex as proven by Leporello’s catalogue. We can say that, existentially, he isn’t suffering because he is able to live out his chosen purpose. In the moments where he isn’t able to live out his purpose, the suffering that comes from not being not being able to live out one’s purpose is given meaning by his conscious choice. In other words, he chose to pursue women and anything that comes from it. This means that he acknowledges and accepts the pros and cons that come with it. Case in point, when the dad asked him whether he repented or not, he said no because he lived the kind of life that he chose, designed, and created for himself.

The question of whether Giovanni suffered in any way can be answered from two perspectives: physically and metaphysically. Physically, he suffered from addiction while metaphysically, he was at peace. Still, that doesn’t answer the question of whether he suffered or not. Given that a person encompasses more than one sphere, it is difficult to answer a loaded question with complete certainty. If there is a possibility, we can ask the same thing to an addict who consciously chooses to be an addict – I theorize that this would be the most accurate answer. Even then, not everyone would answer the same.

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